Best Tips About How To Heat A Pond in the Cold Winter

Best Tips About How To Heat A Pond in the Cold Winter

Heating your pond properly throughout the cold winter months is essential. When you keep your pond warm, aquatic life will thrive! You won't have to risk losing fish or your gorgeous aquatic plants. Forget about the hassle of moving aquatic life indoors with these awesome ways to heat a pond!

Heating Equipment

Heating equipment is the most common, and effective, way to heat your pond this winter. Pond owners can choose from a variety of heating products to help keep their fish warm this winter. When deciding which equipment is best for your backyard pond, keep your budget and the size of your pond in mind. 

Electric Heaters

Electric heaters are a wonderful choice if you live in a harsh climate. These heaters slowly warm the pond water. They are available as products that can both sit on top of the water and be submerged in water to heat the water along your pond floor. 

Electric pond heaters are capable of heating the water of an entire pond, but you will need more than one heater. Pond owners generally need one electric heater per 120 gallons of water. So, for a 1,000-gallon pond, you would need nine heaters. 

Use electric heaters in combination with a proper aeration system to heat your pond water. Your aerator will help circulate the heated water to make sure that your pond water remains at a steady temperature instead of having hot and cold spots. 

It's important to note that you have a frozen pond, you should only heat the water a little bit at a time. If you heat the water too quickly, it can shock your fish. Some fish cannot survive the shock of rapidly changing water temperatures. Put one small electric heater in your pond at a time and make sure that your aeration system is properly working to circulate water instead of putting all nine heaters in your pond at once. 

Electric Inline Heaters

An inline electric pond heater is capable of heating an entire outdoor fish pond. These heaters do require installation and are often installed when the pump is installed. 

They work by slowly heating the water a little bit at a time. Water is let into a chamber that has a heating element. Then, once the water is heated, it is released back into the pond. These heaters are capable of heating all of the pond water in the pond. 

Electric inline heaters are great for having a healthy pond, but they do tend to cost more than other options in the long run. You'll notice that you have a rather high electric bill if you have one of these running constantly for several months. 

If you plan on using an electric inline heater, you need to use other methods that are suggested for freezing ponds to keep your overall cost low. Pick up an actual pond cover, use an inline heater in combination with solar powered heaters, and make sure that you avoid topping off your large pond so that your pond will stay warm. 

Solar Powered Heaters

Heating pond water doesn't have to raise your electric bill! Solar powered heaters work just like an electric type of pond heater, but they are powered by the sun. You'll need the same number of heaters that you would if you were using an electric pond heater. Most solar powered heaters for ponds can float on top of the water to work like a de-icer or submerged in the water for heating pond water that is towards the pond floor. 

These heaters are eco-friendly, effective, and work exceptionally well, but it is a good idea to have an electric heater as a backup. Some solar powered heaters will not receive adequate sunlight if they are located in the bottom of a pond, so it's important to check on this type of pond heater to make sure that it is working properly. 

Submersible Heaters

If you have a rather large pond, such as a 5,000-gallon pond, you'll find it rather impossible to heat the entire pond without using a large number of pond heaters. That is why you need submersible heaters to keep your pond fish warm. 

Submerisble heaters are small heaters that are designed to sit underwater. You can lower them to the floor of your pond as this is where pond fish tend to go during colder weather. It will create little pockets of heat that your fish can use to keep warm during extreme temperatures. You can find these in both electric and solar powered versions. 


A floating pond de-icer is necessary during the winter months. These small, disk shaped heaters are designed to turn on when the water reaches a specific temperature. They then produce a small amount of heat to create a hole in the ice. This hole in winter ponds is necessary for gases to escape the water. (If there is too much carbon dioxide in the water, it will kill your fish.)

It's important to note that if a pond owner has a larger pond, they will need more than one of these. A huge pond will call for 2-3 de-icers. Those that own small, shallow ponds will be fine with just one. 

Pond de-icers can help keep a pond warm because they produce a small amount of heat. However, they are designed to sit in one specific location, which leads to the heat being distributed unevenly. You should not rely only on a floating de-icer to heat your pond. Instead, use them in combination with other methods. 

Heat Exchangers

Heat exchangers are one of the more popular fish pond heating solutions. A gas pond heat exchanger is a complete system that is designed to heat gallons of pond water. The water flows into the system, passing a coil with boiling water, and then is let back into the pond. The heat from the boiling water helps to heat the cold water that comes into the chamber. Because the water is constantly being heated a little bit at a time, these are more effective than any other method. 

You can find heat exchangers in a variety of sizes. Smaller products are available for a small, happy pond and larger products are available to help you heat a larger pond. They are capable of keeping all of the water in your pond at an even temperature. Although the initial cost of these is rather high, the cost to run them is low when compared to the cost of running electric heaters. 

Other Methods

Heating pond water with a heater is the most popular and effective option on the market. However, there are other methods that you can use to help keep your backyard pond warm. When using a heater, use it in combination with these methods to help your fish survive a cold winter. 

Pond Covering

Pond covering is a great way to help trap the heat inside your pond. It can protect your pond water from nearby debris and falling snow. It's important to note that you should not cover only the pond with a cheap covering. Instead, invest in a covering that works similar to a greenhouse over your pond. 

If you do use protective covers that do not act as a greenhouse, make sure that there is ample room for you to have access to your pond to feed your pond fish, check your water quality, and observe the temperature of pond water. 

This method alone will not heat your pond, but it will help keep your pond warmer. It should be used in combination with other methods, such as a pond heater. 

Proper Aeration 

Winter aeration systems should consist of surface aeration as well as an aerator that is located close to the pond floor. The surface aeration will help prevent freezing because it takes longer and colder temperatures for moving water to freeze. 

The aeration that is located towards the pond floor will help prevent outdoor ponds from freezing as well. It will circulate warm water to keep the entire pond warm while giving pond plants and fish the vital oxygen that they need in order to survive. 

Don't Let The Entire Pond Freeze

If you have a Koi pond, it's critical to keep the ice at the top of the pond. If the entire pond freezes, it will kill all of the fish in the pond. These are some great ways to do just that. 

Make Sure That Your Pond Is The Proper Depth

Koi ponds should be at least four feet deep. If they are more shallow than this, the entire pond will freeze. If they are four feet or deeper, there is ample room for a layer of ice to form on top of the pond without the entire pond freezing. This will guarantee that your fish have room to swim and breathe. 

Pay Attention To The Water Level

Water naturally evaporates. It may evaporate at a quicker rate during colder months. Because of that, it's important to keep an eye on your water level. You will have to top off the water in your pond at least once during the colder months to make sure that your pond is at the proper depth. 

Avoid topping off your pond with hot water. This can be a shock to fish because fish need a constant temperature. Instead, add water that is the same temperature as the rest of your pond water up to 30 degrees higher. That means that if the temperature of your pond water is 20 degrees, you can slowly add water that is 20-50 degrees. 

Decrease Your Water Level

If you do not have as much water to heat in the winter, it will be easier to keep the water warm. If you have a pond that is six feet deep, avoid topping off your pond to bring it back to six feet. Instead, let it get to four feet deep, and leave it there for the winter. This is an appropriate depth to keep Koi fish alive, and you will find that it's much easier to keep the water warm. 

Leave Ice And Snow On Top Of The Pond

Aside from a small hole to allow gasses to escape, do not thaw out the top layers of ice. This might seem contrary, but an iced-over pond can actually benefit your fish during cold conditions. It acts as a layer of insulation to help keep fish safe from fluctuating temperatures due to temperature changes and weather conditions outside, such as strong, cold winds. 

When deciding how to keep have a healthy pond during winter, it's important o keep your pond budget in mind. We recommend using several methods above to keep costs low and temperatures comfortable. Check out our pond de-icers and heaters today!

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